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An interactive ﬁction system has been developed with a rich representation of simulated locations, actors, and things as well as events. This paper discusses one particular type of narrative variation that the system can generate: variation in order. To determine how to concisely specify a possibly non-chronological order for narrating events, a formalization of Genette’s categories of order and his concept of the time of narrating is developed. An ordered tree representation for reply structures is introduced that uses Richenbach’s concepts of speech time, reference time, and event time to determine grammatical tense.
Varying the Narrative Discourse in Interactive Fiction
Interactive ﬁction (typically abbreviated IF) is a venerable form of computer amusement. Some, including this author, believe it holds further literary and gaming promise (Montfort 2003). It is certainly rich as a platform for researching narrative text generation. There is a good deal of hand-crafted prose in existing IF, but a simulated world forms the basis for the textual exchange between user and program, providing a foundation for the generation of narratives. There is also an established form of IF interface that allows meaningful, ontological interaction. The standard IF world model is simple enough to be worked upon by a single author without commercial backing yet complex enough to provide compelling experiences. Interactive ﬁction has objects and characters which are positioned in simulated space; simulated incidents involving these can happen. Current IF systems have not provided any facilities for arranging the way these incidents will be told, however. This paper deals with one particular capability of an IF system called nn. This system was developed to... [continues]
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